Shoot at sight order against trespassers at western sector air bases

New Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) With a high alert at several air bases in the country’s western sector post-Pathankot attack, shoot at sight orders have been issued against trespassers at 20-odd bases in the sector, a senior Indian Air Force officer said on Wednesday.

This comes as the IAF is scaling up security at its 54 major air bases across the country following an audit of security at air force stations by a committee.

The audit was ordered following the January 2 terrorist attack on the IAF base at Pathankot town in Punjab in which seven security personnel were killed. Six terrorists, who attacked the base, were also killed in the gun battle that lasted almost three days.

A senior IAF officer, aware of the audit report, said an air force base on high alert functions as if it is at war.

“When there is a high alert, the guards are authorised to shoot a trespasser without a warning,” the officer said.

“The local administration is informed about it and signage and boards are also put up,” the officer said.

Explaining further, another official said that the decision depends on the wisdom of the personnel guarding the station perimeter.

“Usually, the guard first tries to identify the trespasser… Whether the person is unarmed, what is the threat perception etc.,” said an official.

“Under normal circumstances, the guard would first fire warning shots. But at high alert, the trespasser can be shot at sight,” the official said.

Following the attack at Pathankot, most air bases in the western sector continue to be on high alert.

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